Monday, June 6, 2016

Due Diligence

The Board of Education race went Savage partisan over the weekend. Here's what that means to you. It means that there are some people who want to shift the focus from transparency, accountability, responsiveness, and collaboration to interpreting hot-button issues through a partisan lens. There's nothing illegal about that but, as you do your research on the candidates, you should do it with your eyes open.

We have a little over five months until November. If you have genuine concerns you have every right to reach out to candidates, ask questions, weigh their qualifications. How do their actions speak? Do their actions match their words? Do you feel they have answered your questions adequately?

Some words of advice from educator Bonnie Bricker:

People are digging for big truths here, and in doing so passions can ignite less desirable traits. State what you KNOW, not what you've heard or what you suspect. And respond with whole truth that does not conceal.

What galls me is that we wouldn't be where we are right now, within reach of really changing school system leadership for the good, if it hadn't been for the truly bipartisan efforts of a grassroots movement. That's what made us successful, because we were inclusive. I resent witnessing organized political parties muscling in on this and saying, essentially, 'We've got this. It's our show now. We'll tell people how to think." Not only is it gobsmackingly arrogant, it betrays a complete ignorance of what is good about this cause, and what will work.

What happens when members of the original grassroots coalition become disgusted and or disillusioned by partisan machinations? They'll stay home. This not only dooms a positive outcome for the election in November, we will also lose the energy and gifts of those people who were willing to work for a better school system. That's worse than losing an election. And, ultimately, our kids lose.

Political parties know all about the ins and outs of running elections. I don't dispute that. But this is a non-partisan race, and more than that, this is bigger than party affiliation and it is our fight. Do the necessary research to make up your mind. Don't abdicate your decision to people who view everything through a partisan lens.

You know who will win if the Board of Education race descends into partisan bickering? The status quo. And when the election is over, the D's and the R's will put away their signs and booths and we'll be left with someone on the school board who thinks it's okay to lie to parents and teachers about public health issues. And the good people who worked so hard to bring about success in the primary will feel disenfranchised and defeated.

A final thought: candidates who are willing to stand by while others are targeted by partisan whisper campaigns? That says a whole lot about who you are. That may not be a deal-breaker for some, but it just might be for me.





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